Josh Wolsky, AI Assisted

I’d Rather See Them Make the Sausage!

I’ve got a hypothetical scenario for you. Let’s call it a thought exercise, and the purpose is to examine a decision making process. And I promise, I’ll tie it together at the end so you understand why it matters.

You and your spouse are thinking about buying a new home. You reach out to a real estate agent and let him know that you’re ‘softly’ in the market. You don’t need to move; you’re happy where you are, but if a really good fit comes along, you might consider making an offer.

A couple weeks go by and you get a call from your real estate agent. He doesn’t give you any details, but he insists that you come into his office the next afternoon with your spouse. When you get to his office the next day, he says to you both, “I’ve found the perfect house for you, it’s listed for $400,000. How much do you want to offer for it?

I know you’re saying, “ahh, I think we’d  like to take a look at it first”. But for the sake of the exercise, I want you to assume that one hour later – without ever looking at the house – you do indeed sign an offer to purchase.

Now we’ve gotten to the thought exercise part. What happened in that hour between you reacting with, “ahh, I think we’d like to take a look at it first” to then agreeing to make an offer?

Take a moment. 

If you’re answering somewhere along the line of “Our real estate agent must be a hell of a salesman”, or “he convinced us that we’d love the house and we had to act fast” I suspect you’re like most people.

The point I’m making is this: before you agreed to make an offer and start a negotiating process, you must have first become convinced that you wanted to make the offer at all, right?

And that’s where this becomes a local issue you need to know about. On April 15th, Minot City Council entered an executive session under the protected premise of providing a negotiating strategy for the purchase of real estate.

But if the City Council’s decision making process is anything like ours, they must have been first convinced that they wanted to make an offer at all.

Here’s why this matters. The second part of the decision process – the “how much do we want to offer part?” – is absolutely protected by exceptions to our open meeting laws. And it’s a good thing, too.

But the first part – the “do we want to make an offer?” – I’m not sure that putting that part in an executive session is ok. If so, it enables governments to hide their work from the us.

Perhaps the law allows this, perhaps not. Neither you or I are empowered to say. But the North Dakota Attorney General’s Office is empowered. So, I’ve asked for their opinion on how the City of Minot handled the Nok Back Tavern purchase.

But that will take time. While we wait to see if they’ll take this up and what they think, I’ve also requested that the City Council authorize release of the protected portions of the April 15 and May 6 meetings related to the Nok Back land purchase. Now that the contract is complete, there’s no need for secrecy, right?

Request for ND Attorney General Opinion


Josh Wolsky

Developer & Writer @TheMinot Voice, Fan of the Souris River, SavorMinot Advocate. Fortunate to be a 'former' City Council member ;)

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